Give me your tired, your poor……………*
In the molding world, we sometimes can feel like the Statue of Liberty, when talking about transitioning in molds to PlastiCert. While we regularly design and make new molds for new programs, we also transition in existing molds for numerous reasons. We have received molds from other US shops, but we have also received molds from Eastern Europe, Mexico and East Asia. At times, we feel like the agents on Ellis Island. A mold sits before us, not able to say anything. Its “handlers” don’t know much about it’s “history” and we have to figure out its current state, its health, how it works, and how to help it become productive again.
There are reasons a mold is sourced where it is built, the primary one is the fit with the molder and their business model. Sometimes that can change and with unrealized volumes, requirements that have developed with experience, and others, a mold may be a better fit with an alternative molder. Then there are of course, supply base consolidations, supplier realignment and others.
Regularly transitioning in molds that were built and run elsewhere requires a systematic plan to transition them in, assess them, and integrate them into production through validation. That process also includes the end part(s) the mold provides, assessing the BOM and integrating the part(s) to be made into our ERP system. This is true when it is just one or two molds, it is even more important when it is a family or collection of molds.
When talking to a molder, even when in the context of just a new mold and part program, look at their process for mold transfers. Both in adopting existing molds as well as what they can/will provide for transitioning a mold out of their shop. It will make you better equipped to deal with that aspect of the relationship when its time arrives.
*From “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus. The poem was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903. While not its original intent, The Statue of Liberty quickly became a symbol of immigration as numerous immigrant ships passed under her.